Page 23 - Church Music Quarterly June 2019
P. 23

Despite snowfall and ongoing building work, a disparate band of RSCM singers, all crammed into the north transept, joined the cathedral choir under its new and inspiring director of music, Steven Grahl. The service was led by the precentor, the Revd Dr Grant Bayliss, with readings and prayers by college personnel and RSCM choir members.
The cathedral choir opened from the antechapel with Tallis’s atmospheric O nata lux. Other music included two contrasting motets, the beautifully restrained When to the temple Mary went by Eccard (1553–1611) and Charles Wesley’s words ‘Christ whose glory fills the skies’ in an unfamiliar setting by Harold Darke (1888–1976), as well as Stanford’s Nunc Dimittis in C, and Ave Maria by Victoria (1548–1611). The service ended in the grandeur of Charles Wood’s O thou the central orb.
The hymns were ‘Angels from the realms of glory’,
‘Lord let your light shine’ and ‘Hail to the Lord who comes’ (new words to the tune Highwood). The four movements
of Mendelssohn’s Sonata No. 4 were played before and after the service by the senior organ scholar, Makoto James.
Many thanks to Janet Low and other RSCM organizers, and to the Iffley team for providing refreshments.
Ian Heriot, Hilary Pearson and Terence Carter
A Saturday in March was an ideal opportunity for a workshop with the Revd Dr Adam Carlill at St Mary Magdalen, Reading, using his book Psalms for the Common Era (see CMQ December 2018). The four one-hour sessions were liberally separated with opportunities for tea or coffee and cakes, as well
as time for chat with other participants and members of the Berkshire Area Committee.
Adam gave us insights into his process of translation from Hebrew and then putting the text into verse form, using modern English words and phrases where they were appropriate. Hymn tunes had been chosen to match the mood of each psalm and we sang many examples during the day. We had enough people to sing in four-part harmony and even to split into two ‘choirs’ so that we could sing alternate verses in long psalms to avoid straining our voices.
The topics for Lent were quite intense and at
times emotional, but Adam led us through those
with explanations and teaching, so that we didn’t have to sing some parts if they made us feel uncomfortable.
It was a rewarding day and we would encourage anyone who has an opportunity to try similar workshops (but probably at different times with different topics) to go along and see how these could be used in your church. Mary Delaney
Over 70 singers gathered to sing choral evensong in Birmingham Cathedral accompanied by a full symphony orchestra.
The singers were from choirs affiliated to the RSCM in the Midlands, and the orchestra was the concert orchestra of the King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools in King’s Heath, Birmingham under the baton of Simon Palmer. At the organ was Darren Hogg.
The music was a balance of old and new, with attractive modern hymns: I, the Lord of sea and sky and Brother, sister, let me serve you, as well as classical favourites such as ‘How lovely are thy dwellings’ from Brahms’s German Requiem. The canticles were Walmisley in D minor, and sounded particularly effective with orchestra. The orchestra also played movements from Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite before the service.
In the magnificent baroque surroundings of St Philip’s Cathedral, the orchestra and choir combined to make a wonderful sound. The cathedral was pleased with the event, and members of the congregation said afterwards how effective the service was.
Simon Palmer, Head of Music

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